To Make Up or Not: A Beginner’s Guide To Makeup For Men

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Strong enough to wear makeup?

“To be VISIBLY queer is to choose your happiness over your own safety”. These are the words of  ‘Thirsty Bitch’ presenter, scene queen and DJ, Aamyko.  A big part of Aamyko’s visibility is his makeup (which he wears the hell out of).  He talks openly about the prejudice he has experienced, even in our own community.  A story familiar to any guy who doesn’t fit the ‘masculine’ ideal of the perfect gay man! Let us start breaking that mould. In this article we give you a beginner’s guide to makeup for men.

I like to think of myself as extremely comfortable in my own skin, but is that really the case? On a regular basis I apply instant self-tan to my face, which is basically a foundation in all but name. So why is it that I always make it abundantly clear that it’s tan and not make up? Why is a man wearing makeup somehow a bad thing?  The second piece of damning evidence I present is the choice of my go-to social media pic.

The one I always use is of me in eye-liner.

We had been going to secret cinema Moulin Rouge (if you have never been then you must…it is amazing, but I’ll save that for another blog).  I was feeling myself in tight trousers, nothing on top apart from a body-hugging waist coat and smoky black eyeliner. I love how I look in this pic, I love how I look in eyeline. So why didn’t I ever wear it again? It’s because it was safe to wear it that day because it was a ‘costume’. I have to ponder that question again. Am I really as comfortable with my masculinity as I thought?  Are you?

Some guys don’t want to wear makeup and some guys do? I’m not planning on telling anyone what they should do. I do think life is all about being reflective and I’ve discovered I’ve got some hang-ups that I didn’t even realise. Do you? With that spirit I went and did some research. I’ve trawled the blogs and magazines and pulled together some tips for guy who wants to give it a go.

What do you want to achieve?

Firstly, you need to think what you want your make up to do. As far as I see it there are three main objectives; conceal, reveal or both.

Know your skin type

You need to know what make up to buy. You need to know whether you have oily, dry or combination skin. The easiest way is to go to a dermatologist. In the bigger stores the makeup counter will have an expert that can help you. If you want to check yourself, there are a couple of simple ways. Wash your skin and gently pat it dry. Then add no moisturiser or product and leave it for an hour.

After and hour simply take a look.

 If its red or flaky – you’ve got dry skin.

Shiny- you’ve got oily skin.

If it’s a bit of both- its combination skin.

You can also rub a tissue over your nose and forehead and take a look at what’s on the tissue. If you see the oil then you might have oily or combination skin.

Know your undertones

Look at your wrists and look at the colour of your veins.

More purple/blueish = cool undertones.

More yellow/greenish = warm undertones.

What are the basics if you are starting out?

I was surprised about just what were considered the basics. There is more than you might expect as a novice. Here are a few suggestions about the basic you just might need in your arsenal.

1. Foundation – this gives a smooth even base and comes as either liquid or powder. If it’s a powder then you will need a brush.
2. Anti -shine powder – this is generally for those with oily skin. It basically gives you that matte effect.
3. Concealer- now this one I was way more experienced with. I remember scouring the shelves of Boots as a teenager desperately searching for something to cover up that massive love bite before my mum saw it. What I learnt here is that you really need to make sure you get the right match with your skin tone. It will be a bit trail and error.
4. Brown powder – this is great for brow and beard fill-ins. Make sure you get a fine brush if you use it on your brows. You will need to match it to your hair colour.
5. Bronzer -this is generally a powder, but from my experience the powder balls are the best. It helps regulate the amount you put on. You will need a relatively big bronzer brush. This gives you a great glow and really helps liven up your face.
Make an even bigger statement

This is the very basics, but maybe you want to make more of a statement. Then you will need colours, mascara, eyeline etc. Maybe I ‘ll persuade Aamakyo to give us some tips, so keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks.

Alexander the Great was ridiculed throughout ancient literature for wearing make-up. He was undefeated in battle and ruled the largest empire of the ancient world. Strength comes in all different guises. Don’t forgot that it was the trans people and drag queens (that celebrate their femininity) who led the fight 50 years ago in the Stonewall riots. As a direct result of their actions we can enjoy the kind of acceptance we take for granted today.

This is a beginner’s guide to makeup for men.

Make it your own, fuck it and slap on some slap!